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On the spin

Cycling Rules and Etiquette

Click on this link to view the Cycling Ireland guide to road cycling. The different sections, cover  keeping your bicycle roadworthy, wearing proper equipment and cycling safely and considerately. It also includes guidance on cycling in groups, and suggested calls and hand-signals.

When riding either solo or in a group it is essential to respect certain rules, both for your safety and the safety of others – that includes all road users.

Some other unwritten rules for Group Cycling you need to make sure you are aware of:

  • It is important to be on time for club spins, be there 10 minutes before start time.
  • You are responsible for the safety of everyone around you as you are for your own well-being.
  • Be aware that everything you do has a knock-on effect on everyone behind and beside you.
  • Obey the rules of the road at all times – This includes NOT BREAKING RED LIGHTS and ensuring that the group is in the correct lane.
  • Group rides in two abreast formation – we are entitled to ride two abreast. Never take up more of the road than is needed and never cross the middle lines. Keep the group tight and stay together.
  • The frequency of groups rotation depends on the size of group, weather, pace etc. Group leader will often signal when to move up.
  • When you come through for your turn do so smoothly and close to the rider you are taking over from. Rider on inside should ease the pace slightly to let other rider through.
  • Don’t half-wheel – when you come to the front of the group, keep the pace consistent and match to your riding partner.
  • Avoid freewheeling at the front, this causes riders behind to bunch up & clip wheels.
  • Follow the wheels and don’t let gaps open when the formation is changing.
  • If you are struggling to close a gap, wave the rider behind you through.
  • Do your fair share of work at the front. If you are tiring, stay back rather than disrupt the rhythm of those who are working.
  • Signal that you are last man in the group, or if you are sitting-on/missing a turn.
  • When you hit a hill, maintain your effort level, not your speed.
  • When climbing hills, avoid following a wheel to closely. Many riders lose their momentum when rising out of the saddle which causes sudden deceleration.
  • For weaker riders on climbs, try to start near front and drop back through group.
  • Take/replace a bottle without having to look down so you keep a straight line.
  • Mistakes happen when cyclists are tired and under pressure. So if you’re getting tired then you are better sitting on the back of the group.
  • When someone has a puncture, mechanical or falls back on a climb, continue on at the same effort and turn around when safe, picking up your colleagues and continue on your original route. Make everyone aware of this before heading out.
  • Always carry the tubes, pumps, food and tools you need to look after yourself and your bike.
  • Lights should be used day and night during the winter months for your safety
  • Respect other cyclists by using at least a rear mudguard during winter training spins.
  • If someone is repeatedly making mistakes, tell them discreetly towards the end of the ride. If it’s you being given constructive criticism then try to learn from it.
  • Anticipate hazards and vigilance in relation to dangers of close overtaking manoeuvres by vehicles on the road
  • Bringing a phone is always a good idea you never know when you might need it – however mobile phones should not be used whilst riding in the group.
  • Stereo headphones should not be used on any group rides.
  • Aero-bars should not be used on group spins, as they make it unsafe.
  • Clean your bike – It prolongs drive-train wear and reduces the likelihood of mechanical problems.

Calls & Hand Signals

We’ve put together the following guide to commonly used calls. We’ve also included a description of hand-signals where appropriate. You’ll be familiar with most of these already, but in case you need a reference, read on…

It is very important that all riders through the group repeat any calls made. Many calls start at front of group and it is important that all cyclists through group repeat the calls as those at middle and back of group are unlikely to hear the call of front riders. This works equally from back-to-front.

Some of the Cycling Ireland calls may be a little different to those used by CCC. If there’s any confusion or conflict, the CCC calls detailed above are the official CCC calls and should be used.

Question asked by riders toward front of group to confirm all riders in group are together, usually following a junction or a drag/hill. Should be answered by riders near back of group with “All On – Yes” or “All On – No” as appropriate.

Used to indicate a car approaching from the front of the group travelling in other direction.

Used to indicate a car approaching and overtaking group from the back of the group and travelling in the same direction.

Used to indicate time to rotate riders at front of group; on this call rider on inside (left) at front should ease off slightly to allow rider on outside (right) to come across and take up position on inside; all riders on right of group should move up as appropriate. Call the “change ups” being mindful that everyone has an equal turn and is not on the front for too long. Keep the change ups shorter in windy conditions. Keep an eye out for weaker riders on the day who may be struggling, and ensure they are called into the ‘armchair’ and not kept on the front, so every effort is made to keep the group together. Stronger riders may wish to lead at the front when appropriate to do so, with the agreement of the spin leader. This assists in adverse conditions, or when riders may be tired at the end of a longer spin.

Used at a roundabout or junction to indicate to those behind that it is safe to proceed (e.g. no traffic coming).

Moving Out
Used to indicate group should move out to centre of road usually to pass / avoid an obstacle or other road user e.g. walkers; parked car, etc. Helpful to call out object e.g. “moving out – parked car”; “moving out – jogger”
Hand signal: put arm behind your back and wave in direction of moving.

Used to indicate to riders at front of group to slow down to allow a split group to reform e.g. if one or more riders got detached due to a junction or incline.

Used to indicate a ramp ahead in the road.
Hand signal: extend arm up and down to indicate ramp

At Roundabouts the call should be made in advance of roundabout indicating which exit the group is to exit e.g. “2nd exit; 3rd exit”. Otherwise and well in advance of roundabout, call “straight through roundabout”; “left at roundabout” or “right at roundabout” as appropriate.

Where more than one lane at roundabout Group should occupy lane appropriate for how exiting (i.e. as if driving a car) – left lane for left turn or straight through; right lane for right turn.

Used to indicate a manhole cover or similar hazard in the road; usually accompanied by location of hazard e.g. “shore left” to indicate by kerb/ditch; “shore centre” if in middle between riders; “short right” if to right of riders.
Hand-signal: extend arm and point toward direction of hazard

Single File
Used to indicate to group to file out into single file, usually if road is narrow, and to allow oncoming traffic pass safely or to allow traffic from behind pass if it has built up (NB: this call is to be used only rarely as it is nearly always safer for group to ride 2 abreast and for cars to wait for a safe opportunity to pass).

No explanation needed; usually used when approaching a junction, roundabout or obstruction on the road; begin to slow and be prepared to stop if required.
Hand signal: extend arm and move up and down

To indicate rider is going to get out of saddle and “stand” on pedals; usually used when climbing and leads to a temporary slow down of rider as they transition from seating to standing.

Again clear what this means; used when stopping at STOP sign, lights or stopping for any other reason.
Hand signal: extend straight arm upward, palm open.

Used to incidate a rough or uneven patch of road or other similar hazard (e.g. chippings); again usual to indicate direction e.g. “surface left”; “surface cnetre”; surface right”
Hand signal: extend arm in direction of hazard and move hand from side to side / up and down to indicate uneven surface